Community Club keeps small but tight knot in Englewood

Thursday, September 20, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
The Englewood Community Clubhouse, built in 1938 and pictured Tuesday evening, gives residents of Englewood a local gathering space.

ENGLEWOOD — For Sharon Adams, memories of the Englewood Community Clubhouse are filled with food. 

"There are a lot of wonderful country cooks," said Adams, 64, whose mother grew up near Englewood, an unincorporated dot on the map just east of Columbia Regional Airport.

Englewood Fall Supper

When: 4-7 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $10

Directions: Take U.S. 63 south to Route H. Follow that to the junction of East Johnson Cemetery Road and South Clinkenbeard Road. 

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Food can take up the entire 15 feet of counter and an extra table during events in the Englewood Community Clubhouse, which was built in 1938. On the first Thursday of every month, there is a luncheon or dinner at the clubhouse, and there are always gatherings for Christmas.

"You know there will always be a bounty of wonderful, wonderful comfort food there," Adams said.

In the fall, the annual mutton supper in the clubhouse draws up to 500 people. 

"We have big-time meals up here," said Evelyn Gallup, 71, club president for more than 25 years. "We catch up on all the neighbors and news. It's a nice, friendly place."

The expense and changing tastes took mutton off the menu, and this fall marks the second year of the renamed Englewood Fall Supper.

Rib-eye, pulled pork and barbecue chicken were the stars last year, and Adams said people told her they liked it as much, if not better, than previous years. This year's supper from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday will feature a choice of chicken halves or brisket.

Don Mayse, owner of Show Me Farms and member of the community club, is donating 300 servings of brisket from beef with no added hormones or steroids. Jerome Grethen, farm manager, began preparing the brisket on Monday. 

"It's a service to the community," Grethen said. "It's helping raise money to help operate it during the year."

And there will be pie. Lots of pie. 

"We always have homemade deserts," Adams said. "That's a requirement of the women of the club. We each bring three pies to serve. We want to keep this as much as a home-cooked meal as it always has been." 

The fundraiser helps raise money for annual college scholarships that go to local high school seniors who are descendants of a club member or attend high school in southern Boone County.

"We look for someone with an interest in agriculture because our community is a farming community," Adams said. 

Adams, her daughter and granddaughter are all members of the Englewood Community Club, which began in 1931 as a women's club by a Mrs. H.M. Henry. The first meetings were in the women's homes for lunch and quilting. They worked for six years putting on plays, antique auctions and concession stands to raise money for a community clubhouse. 

When the club had enough money in 1937, it bought a half acre from a local family and built a 24-by-48 foot building with brownstone taken from nearby Cedar Creek in 1938. The members spent 26 days bringing up the rocks and cementing them together. 

Although things like the country store, blacksmith and barbers are no longer part of Englewood, the clubhouse still stands, just past South Clinkenbeard Road and right before state maintenance ends on Route H.

"It's the only thing that Englewood has left," Gallup said. "We no longer have a store. We don't have anything that's Englewood except the community building." 

It's used for community meetings, 4-H clubs, wedding receptions, graduation and family reunions. 

"It's a meeting place in rural Missouri, and it's used quite heavily," Grethen said. "Almost anyone in the community has used it at one time or another."

It has undergone some changes, an addition was added in 1989 for more space, which can hold an additional seven rows of tables. The walls are decorated with old pictures including one of a group schoolchildren from 1939. 

"It's nice to come in and see the faces of people who aren't here anymore," Gallup, 79, said. 

In a back corner, there are a group of  cabinets that house decorations and two old scrapbooks overflowing with newspaper clippings about people in the community club, their wedding announcements and obituaries. Pictures from Halloween and Christmas parties span back years. Gallup found herself in one when she was a teenager. 

"My favorite memories are of the friends and the neighbors just being here as a group," Gallup said. She pointed out a picture of her mother with the other women of the club, also known as her second and third mothers. 

"When I was a kid, everybody corrected you and saw to it you behaved yourself," she said with a laugh. "That's probably a thing that's gone by." 

The dynamics have changed since the club was founded in the 1930s. Gallup said the group is a little smaller than it used to be, with about 30 registered members.

Adams said that there are more younger people who bring in ideas.

"The ladies, some of them are quite elderly, may have ideas from the past," she said. "We’re now living in 2012. We have to change."

One idea was Boone Electric Cooperative Community Trust Grant that will help upgrade the building on a larger scale.

“It’s a nice blend of old and new," Adams said. "We have the people who have been there for many many years. Then we have the blending of younger people with fresh ideas. It seems to work real well.” 

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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Harold Sutton September 20, 2012 | 1:24 p.m.

A building such as this is needs to be maintained well. And not just keeping the floors swept, occasional paint, and maybe a roof patch. Funding needs to be raised to do it right.

There are many, many buildings around the world that are hundreds of years old. And they have great importance to the local people. Well built and well maintained!

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